I was asked to be the tour guide for a "Best of Buffalo" garden tour organized by AAA of Western New York's Horizon Club Tours two weeks before Garden Walk Buffalo. It was put together by the volunteers of the National Garden Festival (thank you Marlene & Rita!) and the local AAA office. It was an all day tour of about a dozen gardens, lunch included. And the bus? With only 50 seats, it has more legroom than other tour buses, it is VERY comfortable, restrooms for those willing to use a bus restroom, and wifi!
|Too many people in this garden with a one-way path! |
That was my fault. I'll get better at this with time.
|Rabine Terrace has many great gardens - and great gardeners!|
|Park Street's small Victorians |
are just ripe for beautiful gardens.
My big mistake was having everyone visit the Banks garden first -- we had 52 people at this point trying to get into a garden that holds ten. Fortunately, one of the Garden Walk Buffalo committee members, Ginny, was at home across the street and opened up her cozy back yard for visitors, impromptu. That's how it is in Buffalo, if you stand around long enough, you'll get invited in to a garden.
We then went on to the Cottage District, which was wonderful, as always. Ellie was there to answer questions and entertain the group, doing some of her gardening stand-up routine. Didn't have access to many back yards on Summer Street, but the front yards are all great gardens and photo worthy. Have to tease people to come back for Garden Walk anyway! We did get over to Sixteenth Street to a VERY impressive garden there, and were joined by next year's Garden Walk Buffalo president, Cindy Loomis, who lives across the street. Next year I'll be "President Emeritus." Which always sounded nicer to me anyway.
|A Park Street garden, not on the tour has such a great garden |
we spent a good amount of time looking at it from the street.
We headed over to Park Street - I hadn't been to the Park Street gardens in a couple years. There are a LOT of gardens on the Walk on this small street of great and beautiful homes. Again, there was only one garden open for our viewing, but a walk up and down the street with Marlene, Rita and Sally (and more than a few of the tour-takers) was like taking a master class in residential horticulture.
| Jim & Annabelle's "Mary's Garden" on Lancaster Avenue |
is always up for a bus tour, garden tour or garden reporter or photographer.
Then off to Granger Place to see Carol & Tom's garden. Then on to the Guercio's Victorian Garden on Delavan Avenue. In retrospect, I think we did a great job of building the tour to a nice climax -- going from small and modest to larger and grandiose.
We did end the tour on a relaxing note, visiting a park-like garden on St. Catherine's Circle. The Horrigan garden is a tranquil retreat -- and our first sight of an actual good-sized grass lawn all day. Part of the original Albright estate in a secluded, tony neighborhood, the Horrigan's have created a private, mini arboretum. Sally Cunningham loves this garden for its collection of great and unique trees. The one thing I learned is I would LOVE to have a Katsura tree.
I hope visitors enjoyed the tour - I am no professional tour guide, as I'm sure they were aware (and if they didn't know before, they know now).
|"Mary's Garden" is a favorite of anyone that's ever visited it. And by now, that number is in the tens of thousands.|
|The elephants are listening...|
|The Granger garden accommodates the crowd. Carol and Tom are excellent hosts.|
|Tom takes a few visitors to his rooftop vegetable garden.|
|No garden tour in Buffalo is complete without a visit to the Guercio garden on Delavan Avenue.|
|Gardener Betty gives a brief talk on the history of the surrounding area and garden, |
with a run-down on the trees in their collection.